Managing Compost Maggots

There are a ton of different ways to compost your leftovers. Regardless, though, whether you have a compost heap in the backyard or a compost tumbler in the front, you’ll likely come across maggots and other icky grubs at some point. So, what do you do if you discover that creepy crawlies have taken up residence in your carefully curated compost pile?

Well, firstly, don’t panic. Maggots and grubs aren’t ultimately that bad for your pile, as they help break down waste faster. However, if you’re still keen to get rid of them, you can do so by using a number of simple methods.

Great, but is there anything else that would be good to know about grubs before you go on a remove-rubs-rampage? There sure is – and in this article, we’re going to cover whether grubs are really that bad, what bugs those nasty white grubs turn into, and how you can get rid of maggots and grubs in the blink of an eye.

Maggots: Are They Good or Bad?

The answer to this age-old question depends on the goals you have for your compost bin. There are a few certain perks of having them there but there are also a number of downsides, too.


It’s easy for everyone to agree that maggots are gross. However, when it comes to compost, they do offer a few benefits. They feed on organic matters, which means that when they find their way into your compost, they help it break down at a much quicker rate. In fact, this is an entire process known as grub composting, which focuses on the fact that grubs help speed things up.

In addition, maggots do a lot of tunneling. This, of course, leaves small holes and tunnels within the soil of the compost bin. These tunnels are ideal for improving the aeration of your bin.


As we briefly said before, maggots do aid in compost breakdown. Although, they also tend to consume the nutrients in the compost that they’re breaking down. This leaves less nutrients in the soil.

How to Get Rid of Maggots Naturally?

There are a few ways to get rid of maggots if you decide that you don’t need or want them.

Worm in compost

Use more brown matter

Maggots live off green matter. This type of matter is the stuff that has juice and moisture in it, such as apple cores and banana peels. Brown matter is things like dry grass, paper, hay, and dead leaves as well as anything else that is essentially dried out and doesn’t contribute any moisture to a compost pile.

Adding more brown matter to your pile will help reduce the number of maggots you find. This is mostly because without green matter, maggots feel exposed and are too uncomfortable to lay eggs. While you’re adding brown matter, you should temporarily stop adding green matter.

Add citrus

Adding citrus fruits such as limes and lemons will work to change the chemical composition of the compost soil, making it too hostile of an environment for maggots to thrive.

Unfortunately, going along with this, it also makes the soil too hostile to support the beneficial bacteria and microbes that break down compost matter.

Enlist the help of chickens

As adorable as chickens are, having them around the house isn’t practical for everyone. If you have the land and space for them, though, chickens are a great way to get rid of unneeded maggots.

Chickens will eat organic green matter, of course, but they will also go after wiggly prey items like worms, caterpillars, and maggots. If you want to use chickens to handle your grub problem, spread the compost out on a tarp or in a low trough where they can get to it easily.

Like we said, this might result in collateral damage for the other organic components in your compost but it’s obviously much easier to replace the occasional apple core than it is to remove all the maggots from a compost pile.

It won’t take a group of chickens long to completely rid the pile of maggots.

Store compost in a sealed container

Both tumblers and compost bins are great ways to keep your compost safe from bugs and grubs. Compost tumblers allow you to turn the compost, which helps it generate heat and cycles everything around, which assists in the break-down process.

In addition, tumblers are sealed, which keeps bugs out. If you don’t have a tumbler, you can still benefit from this simple preventative method by using a compost bin with a tight-fitting lid. When you do this, you’ll want to make sure that your bin still has good airflow.

To achieve this, purchase a bin with a vented lid. Or, if you’re DIY-ing your compost bin, cut part of the lid out and replace it with a fine mesh that will prevent flies from entering while still providing enough air for the efficient breakdown. You could also opt to drill small holes in the bottom of your bin for aeration purposes.

A Simple DIY Compost Bin

Compost bin full of compost

When it comes to making a cheap grub killer container, the recipe is simple. Here it is.

  1. First, you’ll need to select your bin. Source out a plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid; ideally, this bin will be at least 24 inches tall. You can use any color that you see fit.
  2. Now, you’ll need to figure out your aeration. You can choose from the two methods we listed just a second ago or use your own method if you have one that you like better. Regardless, this isn’t a step you want to skip.
  3. Next, add your base. This can be a lining of newspaper or dry leaves.
  4. Add your dirt of choice and fill the bin roughly half full.
  5. Now for the fun part: adding your food scraps!
  6. Stir your compost thoroughly and ensure that all food scraps are covered.
  7. Spray the compost with warm water until it’s moist but not soaking wet.
  8. If you’ve gone with the screen replacement method of aeration from above, you can skip this step. If not, drill some holes in the top of the bin, too.